OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's Marshall Henderson has been suspended three regular-season games this season, including the first two Southeastern Conference games.
The school announced the suspension on Tuesday morning. The 6-foot-2 guard — whose boisterous antics turned him into one of college basketball's biggest villains — scored more than 20 points per game last season, but was indefinitely suspended in July after police found him with small amounts of marijuana and cocaine during a traffic stop. Henderson was not arrested.
Henderson will miss the season opener against Troy on Nov. 8 and SEC games against Auburn (Jan. 9) and Mississippi State (Jan. 11). He will also miss the team's exhibition game on Friday night. Henderson has had both on-and off-the-court issues at Ole Miss. The school said in a statement that Henderson's suspension is a result of his "conduct during the 2012-13 season, SEC and NCAA Tournaments, and his behavior since the end of the season."
"I want to thank Coach (Andy) Kennedy, (athletic director) Ross Bjork and the university for giving me an opportunity to rejoin the team," Henderson said in Tuesday's statement. "This has been a difficult time for me, and I appreciate this chance. My teammates and I are looking forward to defending our SEC Championship."
Henderson has been allowed to practice with the team during the preseason. He helped the Rebels advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002. But his detractors have piled up just as quickly as the points.
Among Henderson's many transgressions last season: He riled up fans at Auburn after hitting some key free throws, made the "Gator Chomp" motion to Florida fans during the SEC tournament and made an obscene gesture to fans following the team's loss to LaSalle in the NCAA tournament.
He was reprimanded by the NCAA for his actions following the LaSalle loss. Henderson came to Ole Miss with a history of discipline problems. He was arrested in both 2009 and 2011 and served time in jail after the second arrest because he violated his probation. Ole Miss has said the coaches were aware of Henderson's past when he signed with the program.
Kennedy has said Henderson has done everything the program has asked since his suspension this summer. "I support this decision, and I am thankful to our leadership for allowing Marshall the opportunity to earn the right to rejoin our team," Kennedy said. "Marshall has been compliant with the process put in place for him since his suspension in early July, and we look forward to him being back on our team."